Friday, May 14, 2010

Frank Frazetta, R.I.P. ...Why I Love Heros and Leather


Unknown to most of my readers I started out life as an unusually talented artist.  I could draw realistic faces and humans by the time I was 5 years old.  I have always been obsessed with drawing and painting and spent most of the eighties and early nineties making art.  Between Film Studies, art making and vintage clothing I divided up and occupied most of my time.  I taught myself to oil paint between 9 and 15 years of age.  My inspiration was my massive Marvel comic collection and the cover art of every science fiction book that I could get my hands on and read.

  I obsessed over the art of Boris Vallejo and Frank Frazetta.  The raw sexuality of their images, the fantasy worlds they depicted of armour clad hero's, scantily robust women in repose, the renaissance lighting and composition fueled my teenage imagination.  Between Conan the Barbarian and Wolverine and the X men, my mind waded through the morass of teenage pressures through pure visual escapism.  When I laid paint to canvass copying the sumptuous curves of a Frazetta female or a Vallejo heroine I could feel the flesh in the paint.  I loved these guys and today one of my hero's passed on into the abyss and into the pantheon of Scifi art gods.  If you trace the styles and imagery of Frazetta, and look at earlier influences like Joseph Clement Coll and J. Allen St. John..you see the stamp of  modern photography, film noir and the cool new aesthetics of the industrial age.  These factors help create the sleek looks of new design in the garment industry that lead to the Flash Gordon like designs of Leather Togs, Buco and many of the great motorcycle jacket companies.  It may seem tenuous but I owe a great deal to these great image makers.